NC State’s Adler Elected Fellow at National Academy of Inventors
The College of Veterinary Medicine professor's work on airway diseases has resulted in 10 U.S.-issued patents, four foreign patents and more than 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Kenneth Adler, professor of cell biology in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, has been elected to the rank of fellow at the National Academy of Inventors.
Adler, one of the world’s foremost researchers in the field of airway disease, is a top-ranked biomedical scientist who has spent decades investigating the lungs, respiratory airways and the problem of excess inflammation that occurs in severe diseases, including chronic bronchitis, asthma and cystic fibrosis.
His work has resulted in 10 U.S.-issued patents, four foreign patents and more than 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
“Speaking for most, if not all, biomedical researchers, we go into this field with the hope of developing new treatments or therapies for a number of diseases,” Adler said. “I’m one of the fortunate ones in that discoveries made at the basic science bench have translated into a potential drug that has already moved to clinical trials and offers the possibility of treating diseases in which current therapies are lacking or not particularly effective.”
Election as a National Academy of Inventors Fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to academic inventors.
“The College of Veterinary Medicine is so fortunate to have Dr Adler on our faculty,” said Dr. Kate Meurs, dean of the college. “He is a gifted and innovative scientist but also an outstanding mentor to our trainees and early career faculty. I am so particularly grateful for all he has done to train the next generation of biomedical researchers!”
Adler discovered the role of the MARCKS protein in excessive mucus production in respiratory diseases and developed a peptide to inhibit it. He then co-founded a startup to commercialize the peptide for treatment of multiple diseases without effective treatment options.
“Dr. Adler is one of the few research scientists to have seen his laboratory discoveries translated into actual drugs tested in clinical trials,” NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in his nomination letter. “Over his 30-plus years at NC State, he has become one of the world’s foremost researchers in the field of airway disease, and his innovative peptides have the potential to help the many patients suffering from severe respiratory diseases.”
Adler also has won the prestigious MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which less than 1 percent of NIH-funded investigators are selected to receive.
The MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award supports researchers “who have demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity in research endeavors.” He also is a recipient of the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest faculty award presented by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to a faculty member recognized as having “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”
The NAI Fellows Program was established to highlight academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
“This year’s class of NAI Fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem,” says Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI. “Each of these individuals is making significant contributions to both science and society through their work. This new class, in conjunction with our existing fellows, are creating innovations that are driving crucial advancements across a variety of disciplines and are stimulating the global and national economy in immeasurable ways as they move these technologies from lab to marketplace. We are honored to welcome these highly regarded innovators to the academy.”
The 2023 class of fellows has 162 distinguished academic inventors, and the full list can be found here. They will be inducted at the group’s annual conference in Research Triangle Park in June.